Stuck In Spheres


A long time ago, it seems, while working and thinking about interactive fiction, I found myself watching a variety of 360 videos. I had an 'audience-experience' based analytical toolset growing in the back of my mind, and that combined with my inherent need to dissect mediums (or, as some have called it, an 'inability to just sit back and enjoy anything'). This combination resulted in me watching 360 videos and not just going "Wow, these are TERRIBLE!", but going "Wow, these are TERRIBLE and I think I know why." I started trying to figure out, and formalize, just why these videos were so boring. Here I am, over a year later, and I just might have a clue.

Jokingly, I say I started this project because I hated 360° videos and had no choice but to try and make them good enough that I would stop hating them. In reality, it's my curiosity, my need to figure out how storytelling works, that kept me going on 360° video.

Feedback consistently kept asking me "what is this good for?" and what felt obvious to me - in the space of immersive storytelling, this is applicable to all sorts of mediums! - wasn't obvious to onlookers. I realized it would do me good to formally define the space I was working in, and treat it like it matters. I'm glad I did! The second I did this, the work exploded and expanded in ways I could never have predicted from the start. I know believe this effort to be the most significant and important element of this thesis, which I will get to in a moment.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone involved with this process. In no particular order:

My advisors: Golan Levin, Eddy Man Kim, Dave Newburry, Jeff Hinkelman, and Ralph Vituccio.

My cohort: Robert Zacharias, Dan Moore, Jen Liu, Aprameya Mysore, and Irene Alvarado.

As well as Tom Corbett, Larry Shea, MK Haley, Molly Steenson, Garth Zeglin, and...